Sunday, May 09, 2010

UGC gets CAG rap for doling out deemed tags

On several occasions in the past five years, the University Grants Commission (UGC) violated established guidelines to recommend deemed university status for certain institutions. In many cases, the UGC even ignored the expert committee and state government recommendations to declare a favoured institution as “deemed”. In a report on the function of autonomous bodies presented in Parliament yesterday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) took the UGC to task, saying four cases involving institutions in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan, were granted deemed tags by the UGC despite not fulfilling the minimum eligibility criteria. The CAG report comes days after the UGC revisited deemed varsity guidelines, making it stricter for institutions to apply. But the reality is it did not follow the old guidelines that were not weak either.

The four institutions granted deemed status in sheer violation of “basic eligibility rules” are Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad; Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI), Hyderabad; Nehru Gram Bharati Vishwavidyalaya, Allahbad; and Modi Institute of Education and Research, Rajasthan. “Audit observed that ICFAI was given the deemed status by the Ministry of HRD despite the fact that AICTE had informed the UGC in January 2006 that the institution had been conducting technical programmes without their approval and a show cause notice had also been issued to them. The UGC still went ahead and recommended to the HRD Ministry to grant deemed status to ICFAI,” says CAG.

In case of Manav Rachna in Faridabad too, the AICTE warning was ignored to grant deemed status. Audit noticed that Manav Rachna in disregard of the notification issued by the Ministry included the names of other four unapproved institutions as constituents of the university and notified them in an advertisement published in April 2009. Further, the UGC went against the advice of state governments in 14 cases to grant deemed tags to institutions. As per guidelines, UGC is to obtain the views of the state governments on the proposal from institutions seeking deemed status.

“Test check reveals that in 14 cases, the HRD Ministry, on UGC’s recommendations, granted deemed status to institutions either against the recommendations of the state governments or without obtaining the views of states,” says the report. Five of these institutions (where states’ suggestions were disregarded) are in Tamil Nadu, four in Karnataka, two in Uttrakhand (Graphic Era Institute and Swami Ram Vidyapeeth); one each in Puducherry and Haryana (Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Ambala).

As of June 2009, 127 institutions were deemed, of which 57 were given the status between 2004 and 2009. The Supreme Court is currently hearing the case related to 44 deemed varsities blacklisted by the HRD Ministry for de-recognition. Only yesterday, the SC said they could admit students while the case hearing was on.

Source: The Tribune, May 9, 2010

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